No. No. And nope. You won’t eat jelly with every meal. Nor every day…
Personally, I don’t like it so I’m fine with that. But it took me several months before tasting. Because you can’t find it everywhere. And even in the desserts/yoghurts aisle at the supermarket, you don’t pay attention to the poor jellies that are not visible. Even the British hardly eat any more. So no reason to worry about it!
Yes, food is not great (even the British agree with that).
But I am not talking about the restaurant of course. At a restaurant, like everywhere else, there is a chef and you find, depending on the place, high quality meals. I kindly remind you that one of the most famous chefs in the world is British. Scottish actually, and is named Gordon Ramsay. He actually opened restaurants in France (but I never had the chance to tried them…yet!). So yes, British people can cook good food when they want to.
However, we have to be honest, and pragmatic. Daily, when you do your groceries at the supermarket, you can find nice surprises… But up to you to see what really matters to you, and you will go to the right supermarket (let me give you the main ones).
The classic ones: Lidl and Aldi. The discount brand is everywhere in Europe. Tu probably already know the organization. Cheap but not much choice and a focus on certain products. And european products. You can even find french cheese! Don’t expect to find a cheese maker though, you will be satisfied with the famous brand, like President. The bakery at Lidl is also good (as French I am obviously a bread lover…Bread + cheese, you know the deal…). Here you won’t find much surprises, especially if you already shop at discount supermarkets at home. You will find a lot of common prducts.
The hypermarket: Asda and Morrisson. It looks like Carrefour in Europe or Walmart in the US. Nothing different. Huge supermarket located in the outskirts of the city center. Large selection of products, et it’s really where you can find all British regional products! What a surprise when I discovered an entire aisle dedicated to beans! And an other half only for bacon (which is mainly imported from Denmark!!). An aisle just for cheap birthday cakes that you don’t want in your stomach or you will finish at the ER… Anyway, just go there, it’s fun. I spent 3 hours there with my colleague the first time. I stopped every 2 steps. Wine and other alcohol in cans is also a nice surprise for example…
The local supermarket: Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Like 7-Eleven, etc. Not much choice and expensive. If you live in central London, prepare your wallet, Tesco rules there!.
The high-end supermarket: Waitrose. The equivalent of Wegmans, Whole Foods or The Fresh Market for example. It’s expensive. You can find quality products for sure. And it’s good. But it’s soooo expensive!
Practical example (once again, but it helps): dry pasta. The noodles. You buy them at the supermarket. Several individual packs. Very cheap. It’s not ecstasy in your mouth but it’s not that bad and fills your stomach. Well, in the UK, they succeed fail them actually. You don’t know how. I didn’t even buy the cheapest noodles (and the first price in the UK basically aims to make you sick…). Well, I never ate such disgusting pasta in my entire life. And the smell… Yeah the noodles smell a little bit. But these ones were just awful. And of course, I had these noodles for my lunch break at work… Poor colleagues. The office was doomed! (Oooh there’s a nice transition).
Forget about your 1-hour break, or 1h30 (even 2 hours but you really should think about working…Seriously), at your office or at the canteen. with your colleagues, talking about work, politic, weekends, swingers clubs…Anyway! The British don’t really have a break. The law provides a 30-minute break et lots of companies don’t give 1 more minute. Even if the British go more and more to the canteen, it’s a little bit hard to go to the canteen (or the local sandwich bar), to queue, to eat and to come back to the office… in 30 minutes.
The lunch break will then most often look like a sandwich or a cooked meal and ready to eat at noon. And at your desk too. So you continue to work.
It’s another habit that, I admit, is difficult to adapt to for a French guy. But, in the meantime, of they don’t really take a lunch break, they can leave early in the evening (Bim! Another crazy transition to Work-Life Balance if you haven’t read it yet).
Next page: The Dinner.